But there’s now a restaurant that is fully dedicated to Maltese food – and it’s called Il-Malti. The Lovin Malta team went to Il-Malti along the Sliema front to taste their dishes, and we can easily say that this is one of the best restaurants around for Maltese food.
The fresh pieces of octopus were cooked precisely to the point where the flesh was soft and subtle, with a soft flavour well-suited to start off a Maltese food extravaganza.
2. Żalżett Malti
And the Maltese sausage is a must order – the herbs’ flavour within the Maltese sausage is brought out softly with its cooking, and a rich country sauce with peas that it is cooked in is perfect for some Maltese bread-dipping – but only a slice or two, the mains are on the way.
3. Fenek moqli
Il-Malti offers rabbit in various forms: with spaghetti, fried on its own, and they even offer rabbit liver as a separate dish for the old-school lovers.
Their fried rabbit dish is effortlessly good: the rabbit meat flavour is full-on, with minimal sauce to enhance the rabbit’s natural flavour, and each bite reminds you why Maltese food will always be the best food in the world.
4. The Maltese platter
Of course, no Maltese starters would be complete without a beautiful Maltese platter, with everything from ġbejna to pickled onions to sun-dried tomatoes bringing out the Mediterranean flavours the Maltese islands are famous for.
But that’s just the beginning of the Maltese-ness at Il-Malti. They offer all the soups that your nanna used to make, like Widow’s Soup, and their pastas really take the Maltese flavours to the next level.
You can enjoy ravioli stuffed with ġbejna, spaghetti with rabbit cooked in a rich sauce or pappardelle with beef strips.
But you will want to leave some room for the main course – Il-Malti offers all the types of meats and fish that Malta is famous for.
You can start off with the delicate quail – a meat that is subtle in its flavour and has a unique aftertaste, the quail is accompanied by some perfectly crusty patata tal-forn.
Quail is a traditional Maltese meat, being a familiar ingredient for many – but horse cooked in the Maltese style is the quintessential dish for anyone who wants to embrace their inner Malti.
The horse meat is braised until it is so tender it literally falls apart to the slightest touch. The meat is very lean, with minimal fat, delivering an upfront, slightly game-y flavour with the texture of some of the softest meat around. It is a truly unique dish.
Another classic Maltese dish is the Maltese beef olive – the bragioli. A beautiful mixture of diced eggs, minced pork, onions and other tasty bits of stuffing are wrapped in a tight minute steak, to deliver a delicious little package.
Don’t let the cuteness fool you though, it is truly worth chopping up and eating.
8. Imqaret bil-ġelat ta’ ħelwa tat-tork
The imqaret with helwa tat-tork ice-cream
Whether you go for a traditional meat dish, or choose from their incredible selection of fresh Maltese fish, there is one thing you need to order: their warm mini-imqaret in a bowl of helwa tat-tork ice-cream with peanut pieces.
In contrast to a lot of the other dishes, this dessert is super bright and jumps out at you, with the sharpness of the date filling mixing in with the warm crunchy exterior and the cold sweet ice cream perfectly rounding the mouthful off.
Make sure you order one for yourself, you won’t want to share it.
The meal ends with a complimentary bowl of peanuts, just like your dad always loved to end his meal with.
Whether you are looking for a great range of tasty traditional Maltese dishes, a range of vegetarian dishes and fresh fish daily, or just a restaurant that your whole family will definitely enjoy, Il-Malti is the place to be for all flavours malti.